A cross from Italy’s mainland sat the city of Messina like an indomitable fortress. Proud of its solid presence, Messina was the travelers’ first encounter with the island of Sicily. The earthy colors of the buildings and landscape signaled to the visitor or returning Sicilian that Messina and its people belonged to the island, not to any outside political force or cultural tradition. The clang of the donkey-drawn carts and the voices calling out to customers to buy wares in the market added to the music of the city’s sounds. Visitors marveled out loud at the cathedrals and ancient art work throughout the city, but the locals walked and spoke softly, especially near the narrow slits between the buildings. Visitors delighted in the snake-like movement of the streets. The streets seemed to lead directly to a famous church or street market but then would slowly veer off in a different direction. They seemed to be designed to intentionally confuse. The city offered no help in arriving at a specific destination. Ancient buildings were so close together that air barely squeezed through. Residents believed that between the buildings old mysteries sat, holding the true essence of Messina. Whenever one of the townspeople walked close to the openings, there seemed to be a whisper, not a sound you could hear with your physical ears but heard in your mind. The whisper seemed to convey a yearning that had been imprisoned for hundreds of years. When this happened, people scurried past, heads down, attempting to get away from the whispers in their heads.